On running a restaurant: I can save you a lot of money.
I have been a restaurant consultant for eighteen years. If you feel like you want to open a restaurant, I have a few helpful tips.
- Have lots of money. Like, way more money than you think you need. Be able to lose all of it.
- If you like to cook, and all your friends say to open a restaurant, but you have no restaurant experience at all, go work as a dishwasher for six months, then as a server, then as a fry cook. Then decide if grandma’s recipes are worth all the work. Cleaning a fryer is not for the weak.
- Understand that most single-operator restaurants fail within three years, if not sooner. I’m not joking. That’s a statistic.
- Banks think restaurants are really bad risks, for a reason.
- Investors can be amazing, but usually want a lot of input, whether it agrees with your concept or not.
- Decide FIRST what you will not do, then decide what you will and can do. Don’t be a catering company unless you like late nights, schlepping, and unpredictable weather.
- Find a killer location with a bunch of parking and a decent landlord. This is really important.
- Buy brand new refrigeration. You can buy most other used equipment, but refrigeration is key and used stuff will break down on the hottest day of the year, right when the health inspector shows up.
- Learn how to fix a toilet. People put terrible things into public bathrooms.
- Genuinely love people. You have to. Hospitality cannot be taught. It has to be organic.
- You will not get rich.
- Love your staff and treat them like a dream family. They do everything. If you are a mean person, you will have an unhappy crew.
- This is just a small list. I love you and I want you to be happy.